El Presidente Cocktail Drink

El Presidente

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

Set the bar high with the simplicity and elegance of this El Presidente Cocktail recipe; it’s the no-fuss drink you need for a refined touch to any evening.

El Presidente Cocktail Recipe

Get the party started with this easy El Presidente cocktail recipe! Made with rum, vermouth, and a hint of citrus, this smooth drink is perfect for any celebration.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

231 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz White Rum
  • 1 oz dry Vermouth
  • ½ oz orange Curaçao
  • ¼ oz grenadine
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Mixing Glass

Instructions

  • Chill Glass: Start by chilling your cocktail glass in the freezer or filling it with ice cubes.
  • Mix Ingredients: In a mixing glass, pour ¼ oz grenadine, ½ oz orange Curaçao, 1 oz dry Vermouth, and 2 oz White Rum.
  • Stir Well: Add ice cubes to the mixing glass and with a bar spoon, stir the mix thoroughly until it's chilled.
  • Prep Serving Glass: Remove your cocktail glass from the freezer or discard the ice cubes.
  • Strain: Strain the mixture into your chilled glass.
  • Garnish: Add an orange twist for a touch of elegance.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • White Rum: No white rum? Fret not! I've tried light gold rum for a slightly richer flavor profile, and it's fabulous.
  • Dry Vermouth: Out of dry vermouth? A splash of sweet vermouth can work – it alters the taste, making it a bit sweeter, but it's a pleasant twist.
  • Orange Curaçao: Triple sec is a decent stand-in for orange curaçao, maintaining the citrus notes essential to this cocktail.

Making a Pitcher of El Presidente:

  • Scale: Hosting a party? Mix a batch serving 8 by multiplying each ingredient by 8. You'll need 16 oz of white rum, 8 oz of dry vermouth, 4 oz of orange curaçao, and 2 oz of Grenadine.
  • Mix: Find a large pitcher and combine all these ingredients with ice. Stir it up!
  • Serve: Serve it chilled in individual glasses, and watch your guests revel in the taste.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • White Rum Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic rum-flavored syrup or a rum extract mixed with water for that rum-like taste without the alcohol.
  • Orange Curaçao: Try with an orange syrup or an orange peel tea.
  • Vermouth: Opt for a non-alcoholic alternative in the market. 
  • Other Ingredients: Keep the other ingredients the same; you'll barely notice the difference!
  • Final Steps: Follow the standard recipe, replace the rum with your non-alcoholic option, and confidently serve this delightful mocktail.

Making it Vegan:

  • Good News: The classic recipe is typically vegan! Just check your Grenadine and orange curaçao brands to ensure they're free of animal products.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
231
% Daily Value*
Sodium
 
5
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
11
g
4
%
Sugar
 
6
g
7
%
Potassium
 
30
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
2
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.02
mg
0
%

 

El Presidente Cocktail Drink

El Presidente Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Get the party started with this easy El Presidente cocktail recipe! Made with rum, vermouth, and a hint of citrus, this smooth drink is perfect for any celebration.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 231

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz White Rum
  • 1 oz dry Vermouth
  • ½ oz orange Curaçao
  • ¼ oz grenadine
  • Ice cubes
  • Orange twist - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Cocktail Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Stirrer or Bar Spoon
  • Mixing Glass

Instructions

  • Chill Glass: Start by chilling your cocktail glass in the freezer or filling it with ice cubes.
  • Mix Ingredients: In a mixing glass, pour ¼ oz grenadine, ½ oz orange Curaçao, 1 oz dry Vermouth, and 2 oz White Rum.
  • Stir Well: Add ice cubes to the mixing glass and with a bar spoon, stir the mix thoroughly until it's chilled.
  • Prep Serving Glass: Remove your cocktail glass from the freezer or discard the ice cubes.
  • Strain: Strain the mixture into your chilled glass.
  • Garnish: Add an orange twist for a touch of elegance.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • White Rum: No white rum? Fret not! I've tried light gold rum for a slightly richer flavor profile, and it's fabulous.
  • Dry Vermouth: Out of dry vermouth? A splash of sweet vermouth can work – it alters the taste, making it a bit sweeter, but it's a pleasant twist.
  • Orange Curaçao: Triple sec is a decent stand-in for orange curaçao, maintaining the citrus notes essential to this cocktail.

Making a Pitcher of El Presidente:

  • Scale: Hosting a party? Mix a batch serving 8 by multiplying each ingredient by 8. You'll need 16 oz of white rum, 8 oz of dry vermouth, 4 oz of orange curaçao, and 2 oz of Grenadine.
  • Mix: Find a large pitcher and combine all these ingredients with ice. Stir it up!
  • Serve: Serve it chilled in individual glasses, and watch your guests revel in the taste.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • White Rum Substitute: Opt for a non-alcoholic rum-flavored syrup or a rum extract mixed with water for that rum-like taste without the alcohol.
  • Orange Curaçao: Try with an orange syrup or an orange peel tea.
  • Vermouth: Opt for a non-alcoholic alternative in the market. 
  • Other Ingredients: Keep the other ingredients the same; you'll barely notice the difference!
  • Final Steps: Follow the standard recipe, replace the rum with your non-alcoholic option, and confidently serve this delightful mocktail.

Making it Vegan:

  • Good News: The classic recipe is typically vegan! Just check your Grenadine and orange curaçao brands to ensure they're free of animal products.

What is an El Presidente Cocktail?

The El Presidente Cocktail is a blend of rum, vermouth, orange curaçao, and Grenadine that hails from the 1920s era of Havana’s high society. This cocktail exudes elegance and history, often associated with Cuba’s high rollers and American expats who sought refuge in the vibrant nightlife of Havana. The cocktail, named in honor of then-president Mario García Menocal, quickly became the toast of the town, synonymous with luxury and the free-spirited joie de vivre of that bygone era.

A side shot of an El Presidente cocktail in a coupe glass on a white cloth placed on a brown table with a plate with three oranges, and another white cloth around, in front of a reddish wall.

What is in an El Presidente Cocktail – The Ingredients

To prepare to make your own El Presidente Cocktail, get these ingredients:

  • White Rum: Provides a strong, smooth base that carries the other flavors.
  • Dry Vermouth: Adds a herbal, slightly bitter counterpoint to the rum’s sweetness.
  • Orange Curaçao: Infuses the cocktail with a subtle citrus undertone.
  • Grenadine: Offers a touch of sweetness and a dash of color.
  • Orange Peel (for garnish): Enhances the aroma by adding a fresh citrus note before the sip.

White Rum, Dry Vermouth, Orange Curaçao, Grenadine and two oranges laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make the El Presidente Cocktail?

To get a great El Presidente Cocktail, follow our step-by-step guide:

1
<p>Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes and let it sit while you mix the drink.</p>

Chill your cocktail glass in the freezer or fill it with ice cubes and let it sit while you mix the drink.

2
<p>Measure and pour the Grenadine into the mixing glass.</p>

Measure and pour the Grenadine into the mixing glass.

3
<p>Add orange Curaçao to the mixing glass.</p>

Add orange Curaçao to the mixing glass.

4
<p>Add dry Vermouth to the mixing glass.</p>

Add dry Vermouth to the mixing glass.

5
<p>Pour white Rum into the mixing glass.</p>

Pour white Rum into the mixing glass.

6
<p>Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes.</p>

Fill the mixing glass with ice cubes.

7
<p>With a bar spoon stir your ingredients for about 45 revolutions, you aim to chill and slightly dilute the concoction.</p>

With a bar spoon stir your ingredients for about 45 revolutions, you aim to chill and slightly dilute the concoction.

8
<p>Discard the ice from your now-chilled cocktail glass.</p>

Discard the ice from your now-chilled cocktail glass.

9
<p>Pour the mixture into your glass using a cocktail strainer, leaving the ice behind.</p>

Pour the mixture into your glass using a cocktail strainer, leaving the ice behind.

10
<p>Squeeze an orange peel over the drink, releasing the oils.</p>

Squeeze an orange peel over the drink, releasing the oils.

11
<p>Rub the orange peel over the rim of the glass.</p>

Rub the orange peel over the rim of the glass.

12
<p>Drop the orange peel into the glass.</p>

Drop the orange peel into the glass.

13
<p>Enjoy your El Presidente cocktail!</p>

Enjoy your El Presidente cocktail!

Best Rum for an El Presidente Cocktail

Go for a quality aged white rum. You’re looking for something that brings a depth of flavor, a hint of sweetness, and a smooth finish without overwhelming the cocktail’s other elements. Bacardi Carta Blanca is a classic pick, offering a clean, mild flavor that meshes well with the vermouth and curaçao. Havana Club 3 Años is another stellar option, with its light oakiness and hints of caramel, it adds a touch of complexity. But if you want to level up your cocktail game, Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco is the way to go. This Nicaraguan rum is dry and crisp and carries subtle fruity notes that elevate the El Presidente to new heights. 

An El Presidente cocktail, shot from above, in a coupe glass on a white cloth placed on a brown table with a jigger, and half orange around.

Vermouth or Lillet Blanc for an El Presidente Cocktail?

The El Presidente Cocktail stands out with its delicate balance of flavors, and the choice between Vermouth and Lillet Blanc significantly impacts its profile. Vermouth, with brands like Dolin or Martini, offers a classic taste characterized by its herbaceous and slightly bitter qualities, complementing the strength of the rum with its rich, aromatic complexity. On the other hand, Lillet Blanc, a unique French aperitif wine, introduces a different dimension. It’s sweeter, with a floral bouquet and a subtle hint of citrus, which makes the cocktail smoother and somewhat more refreshing.

A side shot of an El Presidente cocktail in a coupe glass on a white cloth placed on a brown table with a plate with three oranges, a jigger, and another white cloth around, in front of a reddish wall.

History and Origins of the El Presidente Cocktail

The El Presidente cocktail emerged in the bustling nightlife of 1920s Havana, Cuba. The exact origins are unknown, but often an American bartender, Eddie Woelke, who fled to Cuba during Prohibition, is credited with its creation. He crafted this elegant drink while working at the Jockey Club, naming it in honor of the then-president of Cuba, Gerardo Machado. The cocktail quickly gained popularity, symbolizing the opulent lifestyle of the era. It captivated the locals and American tourists, who sought respite from their country’s Prohibition laws.

An El Presidente cocktail, shot from above, on a white marmol table surrounded by a grenadine bottle, a White Rum bottle, an Orange Curaçao bottle, a Dry Vermouth bottle, and an orange.

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FAQ

How many calories are in an El Presidente?
An average El Presidente contains approximately 200 calories, depending on the ingredients used.
How strong is the El Presidente?
The El Presidente generally has an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of around 20%, equating to 40 proof, given the different parts of rum, orange curaçao and vermouth diluted slightly by adding Grenadine and ice.  
What type of alcohol is in an El Presidente?
The primary alcohol in an El Presidente is white rum, typically used alongside vermouth.
How is the El Presidente served concerning ice?
The El Presidente is usually stirred with ice to chill and dilute the drink, then strained and served "up" without ice.
What does an El Presidente taste like?
El Presidente offers a balanced taste, combining the character of rum and the herbaceous touch of vermouth with the citrusy of orange curacao and the sweetness of grenadine,  presenting a smooth, slightly sweet, and sophisticated flavor profile.
What is the standard ratio in an El Presidente?
The classic cocktail maintains a 2:1:½ ratio - two parts white rum, one part dry vermouth, and half part orange curaçao or triple sec, with a dash of Grenadine.
What is the standard serving style of an El Presidente?
It is typically served "up," meaning it's chilled with ice but then strained into a glass without ice.
Can I make an El Presidente with dark rum?
Yes, you can, but it will alter the cocktail's traditional flavor and color.
Can I use simple syrup instead of Grenadine in an El Presidente?
While you can, it will change the drink's flavor, and you'll lose the iconic pinkish hue provided by Grenadine.

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